Children and Adults with Attention-Deficient/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
What They Aren't Telling You
In 2002, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave
$750,000 to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
(CHADD), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) group, to act as a national resource center
on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD). Meanwhile, the United
Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) have severely criticized CHADD's financial
ties to the manufacturers of ADHD drugs heavily promoted by CHADD.
More than half of the drugs promoted and validated on the CHADD website are
manufactured by companies that fund CHADD. CHADD also opposes any legislation
that would prevent parents from being coerced into placing their child on such
potentially dangerous drugs. Indeed, it attacks parents who grieve the death of
their children by psychiatric drug treatmentor parents who have been
terrorized with charges of medical neglect for choosing not to drug their
child. CHADD makes a mockery of their pain, labeling them "isolated"
cases whereas the truth is hundreds of parents have complained about such
Parents accuse CHADD of using taxpayers' money to provide biased
information, thereby denying parents access to truly "informed
consent" from a government-funded "resource center."
While CHADD accuses its critics of "tossing around untruths and
inaccuracies," "misinformation" and "junk science," a
close study of its website reveals CHADD to be guilty of that which it accuses
While freedom of speech is a constitutional right, the support of government
funds means the information must be accurate and unbiased.
Consider the following:
In 1987, members of the American Psychiatric Association voted ADHD to
be a mental disorder for inclusion in its Diagnostic Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM). The same year, CHADD was formed.
Within a year, 500,000 American children were said to suffer from this
"disorder." After a financial boost from pharmaceutical interests,
the number of CHADD chapters exploded from 29 to 500.
In 1992, CHADD received $50,000 from pharmaceutical interests. By 1994,
this had reached $400,000 and by 2001, $700,000.
Elliot S. Valenstein, Ph.D, author of Blaming the Brain, says
such funding "enables the groups to increase newspaper and magazine
advertising and the information they distribute by other means. Typically,
patient advocacy material has a pro-drug bias, encouraging people to seek
medication often by exaggerating the effectiveness of drugs and the scientific
foundation on which they rest."
In 1995, the INCB expressed concern about non-governmental organizations
and parental associations in the U.S. actively lobbying for the medical use of
Ritalin for children with ADHD. It said that financial transfers from a
pharmaceutical company with the purpose to promote sales of an internationally
controlled substance could be identified as hidden advertisement and in
contradiction of the provisions of the 1971 Psychotropic Drugs
In 1995, the DEA issued a Methylphenidate (Ritalin) background paper,
stating: "The DEA has concerns that the depth of the financial
relationship with the manufacturer was not well known to the public, including
CHADD members, that have relied upon CHADD for guidance as it pertains to the
diagnosis and treatment of their children."
Misleading Parents and Children and its Members:
- On September 26, 2002, the CEO of CHADD, E. Clarke Ross, testified before
Congress that the group's financial relationship to ADHD drug manufacturers is
"on our website. It's in our IRS returns." This information is not
obvious on the "National Resource" website; it is in CHADD's annual
report. Unless someone knew where to look, it would not be easily
CHADD claims that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder,
despite the fact that there is no science-based evidence to support this.
CHADD's website fails to inform people of the considerable difference in
medical opinion regarding the validity of ADHD.
Pediatric neurologist, Fred Baughman, who has discovered real physical
diseases, says that by claiming ADHD is a "disease" or
"neurobiological" it makes it so "real and terrible that the
parent who dares not to believe in it, or allow its treatment, is likely to be
deemed negligent, and no longer deserving of custody of their child." He
adds, "This is a perversion of science and medicine and is a
Dr. Valenstein says that patients "may be encouraged when they are
told that the prescribed drugs will do for them just what insulin does for a
diabetic, but the analogy is certainly not justified. What is much clearer,
however, is that there are a number of groups that benefit from promoting the
CHADD defers to the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health when
citing ADHD as a neurobiological disorder, yet the Surgeon General's report,
the DSM-IV, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy
of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline for ADHD, do not
confirm or state that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder. In fact,
the Surgeon General provided no conclusive evidence to support this
theorya fact CHADD neglects to mention on its website.
When pressed recently by Insight Magazine on the scientific
validity of ADHD, E. Clarke Ross finally responded, "It really is a matter
The DEA warned that most of the material prepared for public consumption
by groups like CHADD does not address the potential or actual abuse or Ritalin.
It is portrayed as a benign, mild substance that's not associated with abuse or
any serious side effects. In fact, Ritalin and several other ADHD drugs are
Schedule II drugs in the same category as cocaine and morphine.
In a token gesture to balanced coverage, CHADD devotes about four pages
to negating alternative interventions, while using 10 pages to espouse the
virtues of psychotropic drugs. The known and documented side effects of these
drugs are downplayed as "mild and typically short-term,"
contradicting medical and scientific reports showing serious side effects,
Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of CHADD's website,
alternatives are referred to as "controversial interventions." It
states that "many people turn to treatments which claim to be useful, but
which have not been shown to be truly effective in accord with standards held
by the scientific community." Here again CHADD does what it accuses others
of, using "a tactic designed to startle and scare the American
public," and one motivated by pharmaceutical vested interests.
To counter its critics, CHADD forwards the views of at least one
convicted felon with a bent for kidnapping and who happens to also support
psychotropic drug treatment of children. His long history of criminality
includes convictions for breaking and entering, conspiracy, theft, the use of
stolen credit cards, and threatening to detonate a bomb in a jewelry shop
unless $100,000 in jewels was handed to him. According to one psychiatric
report, this criminal "does not seem to profit from his past experiences
does not realize he has a responsibility to society to control his
behavior." Such is the caliber of opinion that CHADD promotes on its
government- and pharmaceutical-funded website in its efforts to silence
alternative views about treatment and care of children said to have
No one can deny that many children today are faced with very real problems,
including controlling their behavior, focusing and learning. But to
propagandize that this is a brain disease over which a child has no control,
for which the government must provide unlimited funds to "treat"
through our schools, is fabrication and deceit. There is considerable
information that can be provided to both parents and CHADD members that CHADD
deliberately chooses not to provide, pushing instead a drug and behavioral
approach. This does not constitute informed consent, is therefore
discriminatory, a violation of the trust implicit in federal funding, and a
failure in their accountability to the government and the American people.